Thursday, January 6, 2022
Round-up of important news from major Korean dailies and from international media today
The Korea Post ( www.koreapost.com )
“We are starting a Journey of Innovation towards a New Future”
Doosan Group's new CI (corporate identity) image symbolizes the new developments at Doosan, which move dynamically and agilely toward the future and respond flexibly to changes. Doosan Group led by Chairman Park Jung-won has unveiled a new CI and announced that the Group would begin an ‘Innovation Journey towards New Future.’. It symbolizes the new developments at Doosan, which move dynamically and agilely toward the future and respond flexibly to changes. The most noticeable change in the new CI that Doosan Group unveiled on Jan. 3, 2022 is the disappearance of the ‘three-color block (three squares)’ from the existing CI. A Doosan Group official explained, “It symbolizes a new form of Doosan that breaks away from the past, moves dynamically and agilely toward the future, and responds flexibly to changes.” The color of the new CI was given the name ‘Endeavor Blue’. A Doosan official said, “It is a color that is humane and trustworthy.”
President Moon pledges to usher in Korea's era of being a pacesetter
President Moon Jae-in on Jan. 3 said " We will make this new year, 2022, the first year when we completely overcome the crisis and return to normal," adding, "We will vigorously open up the era where we emerge as a pacesetter at the forefront of the world."According to Cheong Wa Dae, the chief executive delivered his 2022 New Year's address for 20 minutes in front of the stairs of Cheong Wa Dae's main hall, saying, "We will achieve the complete recovery of people's lives." "Thanks to the people's cooperation, enhanced anti-epidemic measures have begun to take effect. The number of confirmed cases continues to decrease, and the number of severely or critically ill patients is expected to begin to decline soon." He added, "The Government will do everything possible to make it through this critical juncture. With a long-term perspective, the Government will nourish hope for a return to normal life by riding out the difficulties along with the people in a steady manner."
“2022 in Uzbekistan will be ‘Year of Ensuring Human Interests, Mahalla Development’ ”
Dear compatriots! I sincerely congratulate all of you, our entire multinational people, on the New Year. In these joyful moments, I wish you all health, peace and prosperity! Today, on the threshold of the New Year, we with gratitude see off the passing year. The Year of Supporting Youth and Improving Population Health has left a bright mark on our lives. We carried out large-scale activities together. Despite the consequences of the pandemic and the global crisis, the country has achieved high economic growth. Many enterprises, clusters, technology parks and modern infrastructure have been created. New housing, kindergartens, schools and universities, healthcare, culture and sports facilities are being commissioned. Entrepreneurship is developing rapidly, including among women and youth. Our hardworking farmers have grown a rich harvest in the past year.
JCS: N. Korea Fired Projectile Presumed to Be Ballistic Missile into East Sea
The military reported that North Korea fired a projectile believed to be a ballistic missile into the East Sea on Wednesday. The Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS) said the North launched the projectile from around the Chagang Province region into the East Sea at around 8:10 a.m., adding that South Korean and U.S. military authorities are closely analyzing the specifics. The JCS added that, based on close cooperation with the U.S., the military is keeping a close eye on the North for the possibility of further launches while maintaining defense readiness. Japanese media also reported the launch, saying the Japan Coast Guard announced at 8:13 a.m. that what is likely a ballistic missile was launched from the North.
Yoon Pledges 'Definitive' New Start, Dissolves PPP's Election Committee
Main opposition People Power Party(PPP) presidential candidate Yoon Suk Yeol has dissolved his election committee amid persistent internal discord, pledging to launch a "definitive" new start with about two months to go to the March 9 election. After dedicating two days to deliberate the future of his presidential campaign, Yoon broke his silence on Wednesday. He announced in a press conference the election committee would be replaced by a streamlined election headquarters made up of young and talented hands-on staff. The new headquarters will be led by four-term lawmaker Rep. Kwon Young-se, with the remaining appointments to be announced on Thursday.
Lee Campaigns with Ex-DP Leader Lee Nak-yon in Gwangju in Show of Unity
Ruling Democratic Party(DP) presidential candidate Lee Jae-myung was joined by his primary rival, former DP Chairman Lee Nak-yon, in his visit to the southwestern city of Gwangju on Wednesday. In a show of unity, the two co-chairs jointly presided over the inaugural meeting of a national unity vision committee in the former party leader's support base and the DP's traditional stronghold, the Jeolla region. Emphasizing that the Democratic Party has the DNA for unity and solidarity, the candidate pledged to follow public command and mobilize all resources to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. Lee Nak-yon promised to continue advancing the party, saying democracy, earned through Gwangju's bloodshed, must not regress.
PPP campaign chief indicates willingness to resign voluntarily
The campaign chief of main opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol indicated his willingness to resign voluntarily Wednesday amid widespread speculation Yoon decided to part ways with the veteran politician as the party plunges deeper into an internal feud. Kim Chong-in, who has earned the nickname Kingmaker, for helping major parties win key elections, made the remark to Yonhap News Agency, just hours before Yoon of the People Power Party (PPP) announces a new lineup of his campaign with a focus on removing Kim as its chief. "If our thoughts do not align, we part ways," Kim said in a phone call with Yonhap. When asked about reports that he was informed of Yoon's plan to dismiss him, Kim said he was not aware.
S. Korea to offer fresh funds to pandemic-hit merchants, firms
South Korea plans to provide around 40 trillion won (US$33.4 billion) in funds to pandemic-hit self-employed people and small firms in a bid to ease their financial troubles ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, the country's finance minister said Thursday. The government said the funds will be fresh support, separate from the budget of 35.8 trillion won, in the form of low-interest loans for small merchants, according to Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki. The move is part of a set of measures to stabilize the livelihoods of ordinary people in the runup to the Lunar New Year holiday scheduled for Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
Moon pledges to pursue 'irreversible path to peace' with N. Korea until his term ends
President Moon Jae-in said Monday he will pursue an "irreversible path to peace" on the Korean Peninsula until his term ends, calling for dialogue and cooperation with North Korea. In his final New Year's speech as president, Moon admitted South Korea still has a long way to go to improve inter-Korean relations, despite many achievements during his five-year term. "I will not stop efforts to institutionalize sustainable peace," Moon said in the nationally televised address, adding South Korea will make final efforts for normalization of inter-Korean relations and a path toward irreversible peace.
The Korea Herald (http://www.koreaherald.com)
Yoon disbands conflict-riddled campaign team
Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential candidate of the main opposition party, on Wednesday disbanded his election campaign committee, following weeks of internal dispute. In a press conference, the nominee from the People Power Party said he is launching a new campaign team that is more compact for efficiency, and apologized again for conflicts and scandals raised in the party and surrounding his family. “The election committee is disbanded from today. Instead of giving posts to lawmakers, I will form a new campaign headquarters that is strictly focused on practicality,” Yoon said in the press conference held at the party’s headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul.
Balancing act between China-US not in Korea’s interest: Victor Cha
South Korea should join the democratic coalitions designed to keep China in check, instead of hedging between the US and China, which could result in Seoul having to deal with Beijing alone, says Victor Cha, a former top adviser on North Korea in the George W. Bush administration. “Hedging is not a long-term strategy for South Korea between the US and China. It does not help relations with either party and growing US-China competition will make it harder to hedge,” Cha said, when asked how sustainable South Korea’s diplomatic stance of strategic ambiguity is between the US and China, in an email interview with The Korea Herald. He is a senior vice president at Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
N. Korean man redefected unnoticed although military cameras spotted him 5 times
South Korea’s military said Wednesday that it failed to stop a North Korean defector even though he was caught on surveillance cameras five times. The Joint Chiefs of Staff on Wednesday disclosed the results of its on-site investigation into how the 30-something North Korean man returned to the North Saturday night. The military currently believes that the defector is the same person who defected to the South in November 2020. The military first spotted him approaching the border region at 12:51 p.m. The military sent a warning message after spotting him through a surveillance camera near the Civilian Control Line. The military, however, took no further action.
The Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr)
South's peace overtures answered by North's ballistic missile launch
The Moon Jae-in government is making last-ditch efforts for progress on its inter-Korean peace drive before President Moon's term ends in about five months, but Pyongyang is remaining unresponsive to Seoul's continued calls for dialogue. Rather, North Korea launched a ballistic missile on Wednesday morning, marking this year's first missile launch. This launch coincided with Moon's attendance at a groundbreaking ceremony for the railroad construction to connect Gangneung and Jejin of Gangwon Province, a part of the inter-Korean railroad connection project based upon the 2018 Panmunjeom Declaration adopted by Moon and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.
North Korea says it test-fired 'hypersonic' missile to bolster strategic capabilities
North Korea said Thursday that it has successfully conducted a test-firing of what it called a "hypersonic" missile a day earlier, three months after it first showcased the new weapons system. On Wednesday, South Korea's military said the North fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile toward the East Sea from the northern province of Jagang. The missile made a "120 km lateral movement" from the initial launch azimuth and "precisely hit a set target 700 km away," the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. It did not disclose the speed of the projectile. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not attend the firing.
Bald voters root for Lee's pledge of health insurance coverage for hair loss treatment
Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), is receiving ardent support from voters who are suffering hair loss, thanks to his campaign pledge to expand national health insurance coverage to include hair regrowth treatments. According to an online community platform for people with thinning hair, Tuesday, a number of posts have been uploaded to express their support for the DPK candidate. "Lee Jae-myung is a Propecia-like figure," an online user wrote on dcinside, referring to the popular medication for people with thinning hair. Another wrote, "I will 'implant' Lee in Cheong Wa Dae." A third online user said, "Despite paying health insurance premiums for more than 20 years, I have rarely seen the doctor (for hair loss), which I think is unfair. However, now I think I will be able to benefit from the years-long payments. The pledge is impressive."
Chosun Ilbo (http://english.chosun.com)
More Korean Online Shoppers Go Global
Koreans increasingly shop online from international websites rather than merely at home. The Korea Customs Service on Thursday said 13.1 million Koreans in their 20s to 50s bought products from international online retailers like Amazon in the first 11 months of last year. Purchases were more or less evenly distributed between men and women at the peak of their purchasing power, though the products they bought may vary according to gender. Health supplements were the single most popular category of products with 19.4 percent, followed by clothes (17.7 percent) and home appliances and computers (10.4 percent). Food increased the most on-year, rising 44.2 percent, followed by books, up 40.5 percent, and shoes, up 28.9 percent. Typically women are more interested in health food and clothes while men go for gadgets.
China's Economy Could Overtake U.S. Economy by 2030
China's economy will increasingly rely on state investment, high-tech development and domestic consumption -- with less input from its past staple of export manufacturing -- as it stands to overtake the United States in the coming decade, analysts predict. China's GDP should grow 5.7 percent per year through 2025 and then 4.7 percent annually until 2030, British consultancy Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) forecasts. Its forecast says that China, now the world's second-largest economy, would overtake the No. 1-ranked U.S. economy by 2030. Credit insurance firm Euler Hermes made a similar forecast. Chinese leaders have pushed over the past decade to rely more on value-added services over traditional factory exports, state media have said. The Sino-U.S. trade dispute and early 2020 workplace closures due to COVID-19 have added pressure on manufacturing.
N.Korea Sends No New Year's Greeting to S.Korea, U.S.
North Korea sent no New Year's greetings to either South Korea or the U.S. on Jan. 1. It is unusual for leader Kim Jong-un to skip such a message, however perfunctory. This suggests that the regime has put external affairs on the back burner due to the growing need to concentrate its capabilities and resources on overcoming economic difficulties caused by prolonged international sanctions and a total border lockdown. Kim started sulking when U.S. President Donald Trump walked out of a summit in Hanoi in February 2019, and his New Year's message the following year was replaced by a report on a Central Committee plenary meeting in 2020 and last year. This year too the official Rodong Sinmun just carried a report on the year-end gathering.
HanKyoReh Shinmun (http://english.hani.co.kr)
Strife within S. Korea’s conservative party leads to disbandment of its election committee
People Power Party presidential nominee Yoon Suk-yeol took another step toward completely disbanding his election committee, including the removal of Kim Chong-in as its chairperson. He aims to eliminate the committee entirely, leaving only a bare-bones control center to handle practical matters. The split comes a little over a month after Kim joined the committee in December. “Yoon Suk-yeol is disbanding his election committee, and with the revision of the headquarters system, Kim Chong-in is being dismissed as chairperson as a matter of course,” an official with the party’s election committee told the Hankyoreh on Tuesday.
30th anniversary Wednesday Demonstration pushed out of memorial site by far-right
Wednesday marks the 30th anniversary of the Wednesday Demonstrations, which call for Japan to redress the issue of military sexual slavery. The demonstrations have been regularly taking place since Jan. 8, 1992. The 1,525th Wednesday demonstration was scheduled to start at noon at a site roughly 30 meters away from the comfort woman statue located in front of the former Japanese embassy in Seoul’s Jongno District. That’s because the regular location by the statue was preemptively taken by a far-right group that denies that military sexual slavery ever happened.
“The benefits are evident”: S. Korean health authorities respond to vaccine pass backlash
Korea's vaccine passes officially have an expiration date as of Monday. While some citizens are criticizing the pass, calling it a “violation of basic rights” and going so far as to file a lawsuit, South Korean health authorities maintain that it is effective, arguing that the benefits to public health are evident. Backlash to vaccine passes 3 Starting Monday, the government instituted an expiration date to vaccine passes, restricting the use of multi-use facilities by people whose pass has expired. The pass is valid for 180 days, or 6 months, starting 14 days after an individual’s second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. For those who received Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine, the same period goes into effect 14 days after being vaccinated.
The Dong-A Ilbo (http://english.donga.com/)
North Korea makes first missile provocation of the year
While North Korea made the first missile provocation of the new year on Wednesday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he would continue efforts to have a dialogue with the North. Even though it was his intention to clearly express the determination to pursue the announcement of the end of the Korean War and the peace process on the Korean Peninsula until the end of this term, some criticize that Moon exonerated North Korea’s provocation, which is in violation of the U.N. Security Council’s resolution, as the commander-in-chief. According to the South Korean military, a projectile believed to be a short-term ballistic missile was launched across the East Sea from Chagang Province at 8:10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Samsung Display first unveils QD Display
Samsung Display first unveiled its OLED QD display, going in earnest its competition with LG, which made its foray into the OLED display market ahead of Samsung Display. On Tuesday, one day ahead of the CES 2022, which was held at Encore At Wynn in Las Vegas, Samsung Display rolled out 65 and 55-inch OLED TV panels and 34-inch QLED monitor panel at its private booth. QD display is a display that melds OLED technology with the quantum dot materials. Samsung Display first unveiled its OLED QD display, going in earnest its competition with LG, which made its foray into the OLED display market ahead of Samsung Display. On Tuesday, one day ahead of the CES 2022, which was held at Encore At Wynn in Las Vegas, Samsung Display rolled out 65 and 55-inch OLED TV panels and 34-inch QLED monitor panel at its private booth. QD display is a display that melds OLED technology with the quantum dot materials.
Gov’t appeals against court order exempting hakwon from vaccine passes
The South Korean government appealed the court order exempting private academic institutions (hakwon) from vaccine pass mandates in view of the fact that vaccine passes are necessary for going back to normal amid raging pandemic. Yet the government stated that it would revise those who are subject to vaccination mandate and consider expanding the scope of exempted people from vaccination, in view of a controversy over an infringement upon rights of the unvaccinated. The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on Wednesday that it would appeal the Seoul Administrative Court’s order issued a day earlier which exempted hakwon, reading rooms, and study cafes from mandatory vaccine pass requirements.
The KyungHyangShinmun (http://english.khan.co.kr/)
Kim Chong-in Resigns from Chief of Youn Seok-youl’s Election Campaign, “If We Don’t See Eye to Eye, Then We Can Part”
On January 5, Kim Chong-in, chief of the People Power Party’s election campaign expressed his intention to step down as chief of the camp. This day, in a phone call with Yonhap News, Kim said, “We are trying to reform the election campaign to get our candidate elected as president, but they’re mentioning things like a coup d’etat and an abdicated king--if we don’t see eye to eye, then we can part,” and expressed his wish to resign. Kim Chong-in also said, “They dragged me (to the election campaign, I did not ask to join), so there is no need for me to linger.”
Support Drops and the People Power Party Opts to “Reset” Leaving Just Kim Chong-in
On January 3, the People Power Party (PPP) made a bold decision and disbanded its election campaign. The party’s presidential candidate, Yoon Seok-youl canceled all his schedules and announced that he would start over. Kim Han-gil and Shin Ji-ye, respectively the chair and senior vice chair of the Saesidae Committee (new era preparatory committee) resigned and so did the party’s floor leaders. PPP lawmakers decided to step down from their party positions. Support for Yoon recently plunged, fueling a sense of crisis in the main opposition party. The party decided to completely reform its election campaign, the possibility of which it had formerly dismissed. However, the outcome of such forced reforms amidst internal strife is unclear.
Risking One’s Life to Belly Land a Defective F-35A, Pilot Refuses to Eject to Prevent Damage on the Ground
On January 4, an Air Force stealth fighter, the F-35A made an emergency landing due to mechanical problems during flight training. On Tuesday, the Air Force announced, “At 12:51 p.m. this day, one F-35A made a belly landing on the airstrip at the ROKAF 20th Fighter Wing in Seosan, Chungcheongnam-do, after the landing gear failed to extend due to avionic system issues during training.” A belly landing refers to a landing where the aircraft’s underside or “belly” directly lands on the ground. The Air Force representative conveyed that the pilot on board managed to escape with no injuries. The F-35 pilot dismissed the possibility of ejecting from the aircraft in the air for fear of possible damage on land. He removed all the fuel and risked his life by opting to make a belly landing.
Maeil Business News Korea (http://www.pulsenews.co.kr/)
The Carlyle Group buys 10% stake in Hyundai Glovis for $509 mn from owner family
Global investment firm The Carlyle Group has become the third-largest shareholder of Hyundai Glovis Co., the logistics unit of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, after it purchased 10 percent stake in the company for 611.3 billion won ($509.1 million) from the group’s honorary chairman Chung Mong-koo and his son and chief Chung Euisun. Hyundai Glovis said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that the junior Chung sold 3.29 percent of his 23.28 percent stake in the company and his father entire 6.71 percent. The divesture brings down the Chung family ownership in Hyundai Glovis to 19.99 percent.
Kospi outlook for 2022 mixed on political calendar and tightening environment
South Korea’s key stock index Kospi is projected to move in a modest range of between 2,800 and 3,400 this year with outlook mixed due to uncertainties depending on the outcome of the March presidential election and shift to tightening around the globe in the aftermath of ultra-loose policy in pandemic period. Research center directors at six major securities firms in a poll by the Maeil Business Newspaper project a peak from 3,200 to 3,600 this year, with the most optimistic projection issued by KB Securities.
KEPCO faces another multibillion-dollar losing year amid surge in fuel cost
The state-owned Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) whose annual loss for last year is projected to have topped 4 trillion won ($3.3 billion) faces equally dismal first-quarter red of more than 1 trillion won, with the buy on system marginal price hitting a seven-year high in December. According to consensus compiled by financial market tracker FnGuide Inc., KEPCO is expected to incur an operating loss of 1.095 trillion won in the January-March period. The state-run company is estimated to have logged 3.6 trillion won in losses in the fourth quarter, wiping out most of the earlier profits. Shares of KEPCO were 1.4 percent lower at 21,700 won by midday Wednesday.
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